I’m Stella, the newest permablogger here on Exponent II. I was born and raised in the church, served a mission, and was an active single member until my 30th birthday (last year). Since then my life has become malleable and has taken a shape I never expected. I have a BA in English from BYU and a MA in Art and Humanities from NYU. I’m a photographer, painter, teacher, writer, lover and a fighter. I’m very excited to be part of this wonderful community.
How do you feel, if you believe in a religion where this is true, to only have a MALE god to relate to? Have you ever been worried about it? How do you feel having your Savior be a male? Do you wonder if he can really, possibly, truly know your innermost thoughts and ideas and struggles as a woman? Am I alone in wondering why the world shuns the idea of a FEMALE Divine?
There are numerous Jewish and Christian groups who see the Holy Spirit as being our heavenly Mother. They base their thinking regarding the gender of the Holy Spirit on the fact that the Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruach, which is feminine. I thought this was an interesting idea…not one that works for me, but I love that other religions have tried to work the female into their fundamental belief system. The LDS church, too, has tried to work in the idea of a Heavenly Mother, but she is so quiet and so unknown and sometime so unmentionable that I have a hard time figuring out the idea of her.
The Umbanda or, it is known in Brazil, the Candomble religion worship Iemanja as one of the Seven orixas of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight (much like the Catholic Our lady of the Seafaring). I feel connected with her for a very real reason. When I was studying the educational systems and art in Brazil, our group of 40 students went to the home of a Candomble Priestess and ate African food while she told us about her religion. They identify with three Gods and four Goddesses. As you grow, the Priestess will assign you a patron God or Goddess to identify with. Someone asked her how she assigned them. She said that often, the God or Goddess was simply shinning through so brightly, it was impossible to deny. So, that girl asked again, “Well, can you see any of them in us?”
The Priestess, beautiful in her white clothing, regal in her manner, spiritual in her nature looked around the room and said, “Yes, there are three here who shine bright with their God.”
The girl pressed her, “Won’t you tell us?!” I was quiet, knowing that when she had scanned the room, her eyes had lingered just a bit longer on me then they had on the girl next to me.
She pointed to two people and told them, then she pointed to me. “You, with the blonde, your Goddess is as clear as the blue sea on our coasts. Your Goddess is Iemanja.”
If you research Iemanja (or Yemaya)–you’ll see why it was so special for me. The mother goddess, the patron deity of women, especially pregnant women. I felt like here was a Goddess that encorporated much of what I would picture a Goddess to be.
The feeling inside, this idea that a female goddess was shinning through me, was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. Even more than that was realizing that I hold within myself endless possibilities. However, it has taken me a long time to get to where I am, and I still wonder about these male Gods. I still wonder what life would have been like for an innocent, blonde, rosy cheeked girl to grow up with a strong female divine letting her know that she was just as good as the men who were allowed to lead her, not because they were better, but just because that’s how it’s always been done.